Meet Bobby, a recent high school graduate and participant in the Austin Community Hub’s
youth programming. It’s run by Dollie Sherman, engagement specialist at Austin Coming Together (ACT).

When Bobby was in middle school, he was held back a year. His Chicago school wanted to hold him an additional year as they felt he could not succeed in his current grade level. When Dollie Sherman caught wind of the situation she knew she had to take action on Bobby’s behalf. She met with his principal to articulate just how detrimental the decision would be for a young African American man. She argued that not only would it set him back academically, but it would adversely impact his future beyond high school. As a result of Sherman’s persistent contact with school officials, Bobby was able to re-test and was ultimately placed back in his original grade level. Bobby became a regular participant in Dollie Sherman’s youth programming, including restorative justice activities and peace circles. These experiences had a positive impact on him and his ability to form bonds with others. Bobby felt his involvement with peace circles not only gave him the opportunity to meet other youth, but also connect with them on a deeper level. Following his graduation, Bobby continues to work to support himself with the hope of starting college soon. He is grateful for ACT and believes their support instilled in him many essential life lessons. He hopes Mrs. Sherman will continue to reach youth across the West Side.

Austin Coming Together 

Austin Coming Together (ACT)’s mission is to increase the collective impact of our 50+ member organizations on improving education and economic development outcomes for Chicago’s Austin community. Since 2010, we’ve been connecting residents to services, attracting investments for the community, and building capacity for policy change. When the pandemic made long-standing inequities even worse, we started addressing growing needs through efforts like the Austin Eats Initiative, a 20+ group focused on strengthening the community’s food access infrastructure.

Learn how Austin is leading efforts to move forward together, and how you can support, at

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